Date: May 01, 2016
By: Staff Writer, with CNA
Incoming minister of transportation and communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) has indicated his intention to scrap a government plan to build a new direct rail route between Taipei and Yilan, a local daily newspaper reported yesterday.
Hochen, who is to assume office under the new administration of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to be sworn in on May 20, also expressed his opposition to a proposal to include the Dongao (東澳)-Nanao (南澳) section in the Suhua Highway improvement project, in an interview published by the Chinese-language China Times.
The Taipei-Yilan direct rail route plan, which is expected to cost NT$50 billion (US$1.55 billion), was designed to reduce travel time to eastern Taiwan, but the minister-designate questioned the cost-efficiency of spending tens of billions of New Taiwan dollars just to cut travel time, saying the ministry should evaluate the plan more carefully.
He said that although residents in the eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung and tourists heading to the areas are hoping for shorter travel times, the government should consider the tourism characteristics of different areas and promote the idea of “slow travel.”
Another key issue is adjusting train dispatching and ticket prices to allow residents in eastern Taiwan to purchase train tickets more easily, he said. [FULL STORY]